June 24, 2014


We stop taking same-day reservations at 3 p.m.

In an effort to keep things together, we only accept reservations via email:

While we only accept dinner reservation requests until 3 p.m. of that day, we do save half of our restaurant for walk-in customers and the limited bar seating is always first come first serve.

For Sunday Brunch reservations, we accept requests up until 7 p.m. the night before.

For any Large Groups over 15 people, please feel free to email Mary at well in advance to coordinate this.

Reservation policies are a tricky thing; please know that we’re grateful that you want to come and spend time and money at our places!

To get ready for a meeting with a financial advisor, you normally need to let them know about your current financial situation, including the distribution of your net worth, your income, your goals, and all that jazz. You can check out our net worth info on our net worth tracker page. In all of our retirement accounts, we follow the Lazy Portfolio method, with our assets distributed among Vanguard Total International (VTIAX), Vanguard Total Stock (VTSAX), and Vanguard Intermediate Term Bond (VWITX). I provided all of this information to both of the advisors, and the two meetings were very similar. I was somewhat taken aback when both of the advisors described our investment setup as “kinda weird” (one person actually used those exact words). We were then shown multi-page reports listing all of the funds they suggested we invest in. Look at all the asset classes we are missing! Where are the commodities?! Real estate?! As a person who gets overwhelmed easily (as you may have guessed), I couldn’t decide whether to consider this a sales tactic meant to make us believe we needed them, or whether to hire them immediately to fix all of our mistakes. We thanked them for their time and went home to stew on our impending doom due to our stock market naiveté.

While the stewing was progressing, we received several emails (and even a holiday card) from one of the firms that was courting our business. Intriguingly, with each communication the management price decreased slightly, eventually settling right around 0.5% as an introductory fee for the first several years. I was sorely tempted. Mr. Paradise seemed unmoved (he always was the better negotiator). We made our final decision after a clarifying call with my mom (boy, I’ve said that a lot of times in my life…), which went something like this:

Me: “Mom, taxes are too haaaard. And they say we have all the wrong investments!” (read this in your best complainy-pants voice to get the full effect)

Mom: “No one knows ahead of time what the right investments are.”

Me: “But what if I screw up the taxes again?”

Mom: “It sounds like you really just need a good CPA…”

A CPA sounds a lot less glamorous than a financial advisor, and we hadn’t actually had great experiences with CPAs in the past because it is hard to find someone who wants to deal with cross-border tax issues of a married couple with two different countries of citizenship. While we were living abroad we paid over $2,000 in tax preparation fees and still sadly had to amend our taxes both years (sorry, IRS, sorry).

The way we finally decided was by considering the fact that while maybe some people thought our investment portfolio was weird, we are comfortable with living the index fund life. We are also comfortable with taking money out of our paychecks every month and investing, and with choosing the funds in both our personal accounts and retirement accounts. Where we are NOT comfortable is dealing with cross border investment issues, FBARs (reporting foreign accounts – actually much easier than we originally thought), and complicated / new tax situations. It turns out that all of these things can be handled by a good CPA.

If you are considering a financial advisor for yourself, in our opinion this is a good idea if you are so paralyzed by the complexities of investing that it is going to cause you not to do it at all. If that is the case, go ahead and sign yourself up. A lot of finance blogs proclaim that nobody really needs help – that all the information is available online. But, I think we have to admit that this is not everybody’s cup of tea. And you can always end your relationship with your advising firm once you become comfortable on your own. Keep in mind that once you get your foot halfway in the door of a financial advising firm, they are going to do their best to make it seem like they are invaluable to you. Please give it some serious thought before you even reach out so you don’t get sold something you don’t need.

In the end, for the reasons above and since it was a much cheaper proposition than hiring an asset manager, we decided to give hiring a CPA a go. We got a strong recommendation from our real estate agent (this is often the way to go, they know everybody!) for a CPA who new about international taxes. For a very reasonable fee of just over $300, our taxes were done in early February and I even received occasional email therapy consisting of me freaking out about a new tax form and the CPA telling me that everything was going to be ok.

And honestly, sometimes that’s all we need: someone to tell us that everything is going to be ok.